Online Prescriptions and Privacy Concerns – Phenix Health

March 24, 2023by Phenix Health

Patient privacy is a crucial factor in providing healthcare services. It is important for healthcare providers to ensure that they are following federal patient privacy laws and maintaining an appropriate balance between patient safety and privacy.

One of the biggest concerns is online pharmacies (OPs). Whether legitimate or illegitimate, these sites are a growing concern due to their ability to sell substandard drugs or poor quality products.

How Providers are Ensuring Patient Confidentiality

Patient confidentiality – the obligation of medical professionals to keep their patients’ confidential information secure and only use it for the purpose of improving health outcomes – is essential for establishing trust-based physician-patient relationships. Such relationships lead to better care, more accurate diagnoses, and more personalized treatment plans.

Despite the importance of confidentiality, it is not always easy to maintain. In fact, a recent study found that breaches of patient privacy occur every 62.5 hours in hospitals.


The most common source of these incidents is individual employees, though inadequate policies or a lack of technical mechanisms can also cause privacy breaches.

Healthcare workers can help ensure that patient data is not accidentally disclosed by keeping confidential discussions in private rooms. This can also prevent conversations about a patient’s condition from being heard by others, which would violate HIPAA regulations.

How Patients Can Maintain Privacy

One of the core responsibilities of healthcare providers is to keep a patient’s personal health information private. This can include vital clinical data that is needed to optimize patient care.

However, there are exceptions to confidentiality in which disclosure is required or permitted by law. For example, state and local laws may require reporting communicable/infectious diseases to public health authorities.

In addition, certain patients are legally required to report child, dependent adult or elder abuse or suspected gunshot wounds to the police. The balance of these two obligations is difficult to determine, but it can be helpful to stay informed about your state and local policies, as well as institutional policies governing exceptions to patient confidentiality.

It is essential that pharmacy practices educate all staff about their responsibilities, current government policy and the risks involved with breaching confidentiality. A workshop that enables staff to discuss real-life case studies relating to confidentiality is an excellent way to raise awareness and reduce the risk of potential breaches occurring.

How Patients Can Protect Their Confidential Information

Patients may want to consider a few options to protect their confidential information. One option is to sign up for a secure messaging service that allows them to communicate with their providers in a way that is private and encrypted. Another is to use a password-protected online portal that provides them with secure access to their medical records and insurance information.

The federal government has a long list of rules and regulations for protecting personal information, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). In particular, HIPAA requires that electronic health data be protected by encryption in order to prevent unauthorized individuals from viewing or using it.

There are also other statutory obligations that a patient should know about in order to keep their health information secure and avoid identity theft. This includes keeping their password secret and not sharing it with anyone, especially a person they’ve never met. They also might want to consider changing their passwords periodically and checking their bank accounts, credit cards, and social media accounts regularly.

How Patients Can Ensure Confidentiality

Patient confidentiality is an important part of any healthcare setting. But it can be a difficult task to ensure that sensitive health information is not shared without patients’ consent.

Fortunately, there are several ways to ensure that your patients’ privacy is protected. One is by drawing up a comprehensive policy agreement on the use of confidential information, which all staff members should read and sign.

Another is to hold regular training sessions for all employees. This will help to reinforce how crucial confidentiality procedures are, and remind them of their duties and expectations.

Lastly, it is also important for nurses to be aware of their patient’s privacy when discussing confidential information with family and friends. For example, when a patient is in a semi-private room and has other visitors, it is advisable to ask the person for permission before disclosing any medical information. This will reduce the risk of any breach of patient confidentiality and keep all parties safe.